Written by Anthony Moujaes
Hundreds of people were killed, thousands more injured, and millions have been affected by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the Sichuan Province in China on Monday, April 22. To assist partner organizations respond to the disaster, the United Church of Christ's Disaster Ministries is asking for prayers and donations to support those affected in the region.
"The United Church of Christ is issuing the appeal to help our partner organizations prepare for and respond to the needs of the people in their communities," said Phyllis Richards, who is a program associate with the UCC's Wider Church Ministries. "This partnership provides for a more effective response especially in the first few hours and days of a disaster. It also produces accountability for reporting back to our loyal supporters."
According to Xiaoling Zhu, the UCC's area executive for the East Asia and Pacific office of Global Ministries, $50,000 is currently needed to provide emergency food and water for the people displaced by the earthquake. Global Ministries is the joint ministry of international mission between Wider Church Ministries and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
After the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Ya'an City in the Sichuan Province, more than 2,000 aftershocks followed in the next few days. In a first count Monday, there were almost 200 people dead, with 25 others missing, 11,460 injured, and 1.5 million affected as a result of the destruction.
Houses in the area collapsed or have been damaged, leaving families without a place to live and in need of shelter, water, food, medicine and clothing. Ya'an City is showered with steady rainfall throughout the year, and weather reports predict rainfall this week during recovery efforts that could result in landslides and make rescue efforts very challenging.
Some relief efforts are already underway, as staff from the Amity Foundation, the Chinese independent volunteer organization, arrived in the Sichuan Province in the early hours April 21, and began working in the rubble of two towns, Tianquan Township and Baoxing Township.
The UCC's One Great Hour of Sharing, which is a refugee, relief and development offering of the church, is working through the East Asia Pacific office of Global Ministries to support partner organizations with relief and recovery actions.
As more information becomes available, it will be posted at www.ucc.org/disaster.